Somali famine: Africa response 'too slow'

2011-08-10 22:07

Cape Town - Africa's slow response to the famine in drought-hit Somalia risked sending a message of apathy to the rest of the world, a South African aid group warned on Wednesday.

"I think our government's response is very slow. I think the AU [African Union] is very slow," said Imtiaz Sooliman, chairperson of aid group Gift of the Givers Foundation which returned on Monday from the Somali capital Mogadishu.

"I think we are sending a very wrong message to the world. If Africa doesn't care about Africa, how do you expect other countries and other continents to care about this continent? We need to be more proactive. We spend too much time in meetings and discussions."

The United Nations has officially declared famine in Somalia for the first time this century, including in Mogadishu and four southern Somali regions.

"The first comment the Somalians made is finally Africa has responded to us. That's the comment that they made, wanting to know where is Africa," said Sooliman about the eight-day mission.

The AU's decision to postpone a pledging conference from Monday to August 25 was made while children were dying daily, he told parliament's committee on international relations.

The South African government has raised R8m Somalia and has pledged half to the group, whose recent aid delivery cost R12m including transport.

Set an example

"South Africa needs to make a substantial contribution," said Sooliman, who also cited an absence of international aid groups on the ground in Mogadishu.

"What is four million rand? It gives a very blunt message that we don't care about Africa. We need to make a strong commitment and tell the AU we need you guys to come. Africa is not poor, our thinking may be poor."

Africa could solve the problem itself and this needed to be driven strongly by the South African government and the continent's bloc, with immediate action needed.

"Every day we waste, there are children dying and [if] Africans don't care about Africa, don't expect anybody else in the world to care about us," said Sooliman, whose group has worked in Libya, Haiti and Pakistan.

"We need to set an example. We're spending too much time, year in, year out, discussing what we are going to do and when we are going to do it. Let's do it now. No more discussion. It needs to be done."

  • Dean - 2011-08-10 22:33

    50% of our corrupton takin gs - could buy Somalia - petty cash????

      Jou Ma - 2011-08-12 08:51

      They are always covered in flies. Why don't they just eat the flies?

  • slg - 2011-08-10 22:47

    Notwithstanding the challenges facing the US economy and Americans, the US has sent $100 million of aid to Somalians. This is noteworthy and commendable.

      Howzitekse - 2011-08-11 01:17

      Check Global Dimming on Wikipedia. The Smog from North America is understood to reduce moisture in the air over the Atlantic, leading to drought and famine in North Africa.

      slg - 2011-08-11 04:08

      I think the energies and forces of nature are far more powerful than that. It is highly unlikely they would succumb to weak forces associated with smog over such a short period of time. Strong corrective measures are in place. Environmentalists are strong, some say too strong.

      Seanred - 2011-08-11 05:51

      The USA are idiots. That is -+R700mil. Africa can not put up R10mil.WTF

      Ian - 2011-08-11 07:10

      Howzitekse some of the cause of global dimming is smog and areosol cans, south africa is a major culprit for the 2, how about getting some of your cursed unroadworthy piles of metal scrap taxis off the road and start using rollons, i do and i am part of a lift club, think about what YOU can do to save the planet instead of condemning what other first world countries are doing, btw the article does NOT blame the USA like you do but humans in general so get that weed out of your ass and look at what damage you are in general causing

      tommy 2 - 2011-08-11 22:20

      100 million of Libyas money sent back to Africa...... I am sure Gaddafi would have given 10 times more.

  • Warslat - 2011-08-10 23:47

    African problem? us the african solution. AU meetings are just an excuse to get together and paaaaarty.

      Obama Bin Laden - 2011-08-11 00:31

      Corne and Twakkie could come up with a better solution to this debacle than the AU

      DEVILS SON - 2011-08-11 08:30

      african solution is we just leave them to die, if we stall america can fit the bill and 783 will have spare cash to get dancing lessons and a brand new tivoli showerhead

  • Peg-Leg-Sven - 2011-08-11 00:03

    Funny that, only R4 million for starving Africans, but they can afford R2.1 Billion to prop up that neighbourly Dictator of Swaziland. If it was not so sad, it would be hilarious. The United States, that bastion of oppression has pledged more than $200 million, about R1.4 Billion. No wonder the AU is a laughing stock around the world.

      Dominic - 2011-08-11 08:12

      Some people who comment here claim to be African regardless of their colour. Some accuse others of expecting the government to do everything whilst doing nothing themselves. Of course it's only the hypocrites who won't put their money where their mouth is. shows you how.

  • cgtours - 2011-08-11 00:16

    Tell the somalia people to sort out their Country! Tell them to stop breeding and accept birth control or better sterilisation, tell them to get rid of using, yes ABUSING children/ pregnant, and then one on the hip/ emancipated/ another on the way/ and then another one or two (various ages)clinging to them and NEVER a husband around!!They just keep on/ on/on breeding like rabbits.WHEN ARE AID bodies going to say we helped you last year- your had 2- we help you this year you have 3 Children/NOW one on the way??=4!!WHEN WHEN!sterilisation or no NO FURTHER AID.FOR gODS SAKE ,FOR THE SAKE of those poor children! stop the bloody breeding! Assist them man¬no emancipated /educated/liberated woman will carrying on breeding if you and your children are already starving!That is what womans day is about!-but these people are typical tribes- Africa starving at its best ! Tragic!! and more to come.

  • NZdreamer - 2011-08-11 00:31

    And to think, there is so much money wasted in the world on pathetic game shows, where thousands upon thousands of Rands, Dollars and Pounds get's thrown away.......very daunting to say the least! BTW - some of these families tell the reporting crew that they have had 3 of their 6 children die??????? What? They know the awful situation of starvation and yet, they bring 6 kids into the world!!! Now this REALLY BOGGLES THE MIND!!

      Marcell - 2011-08-11 01:15

      It is the African way. Breed, breed, breed. Someone else will have to provide. jz is a very good example of a true african.

      AJ - 2011-08-11 05:18

      @NZDreamer: Game show money is not wasted, people do take their winnings and do various things with it, they dont take it home and set fire to it. You may not like the method of delivery but it does not preclude the possibility people use their money to improve their lives.

  • Marcell - 2011-08-11 00:42

    African problem: Over breeding Entitlement Corruption Laziness

      Dmitri - 2011-08-11 05:57

      Someone once said; If you cannot feed them, do not breed them.

      daaivark - 2011-08-11 07:40

      Do you and Marcell have children?

      Jou Ma - 2011-08-12 08:42

      @daaivark. Unfortunately your mother had children.

  • Seth - 2011-08-11 01:16

    Some of us tax payers don't care and are apathetic about other Africans dying. I for one am, so sending such a message is very accurate. I care for South Africans and a bit less the civilized world only and there ain't nothing wrong with it either.

  • Stufflé - 2011-08-11 02:45

    Let nature be. Mother Earth sorts out her own problems

      NewsICON - 2011-08-11 03:48

      Let us Pray that Mother Earth does not turn her gaze upon South Africa... Our borders are wide open... a flood of refugees will destroy our resources... and our children will suffer the same poverty as the rest of Africa...

      Marcell - 2011-08-11 05:17

      @NewsIcon. It is only a matter of time. It is the African way.

  • Benoexpat - 2011-08-11 06:11

    It's Haiti all over again. The whole world except Africa (by themselves) is expected to help. What double standards! Slapping with the one hand and begging with the other.

  • HumanKind - 2011-08-11 06:25

    When it comes to stealing, breeding and begging then Africa is not slow

      HumanKind - 2011-08-11 06:32

      I forgot to add warmongering

      daaivark - 2011-08-11 07:40

      And you call yourself human?

  • Stuart - 2011-08-11 07:00

    One child only. Works in China, will definitely help Africa.

      Me - 2011-08-11 07:22

      Stuart I agree with u 100% Humandkin you are so right they must stop making babies

  • Serias - 2011-08-11 07:00

    I distinctly remember a certain former woodwork pupil saying that Africa will sort out Africa's problems. They dont need the colonialists and westerners to help them.............yet now the hands are out begging we are good enough!

      Ian - 2011-08-11 07:13

      and not a peep from the fat jelli tot either

      Danief` - 2011-08-11 07:52

      Let the Woodhead and his corrupt buddies throw something into the kitty to help. They will get nothing from me.

      Jou Ma - 2011-08-12 08:50

      Serias, Africa is sorting out Africa's problems. They are dying like flies. The westerners should stay out of it.

  • Me - 2011-08-11 07:17

    how fast must they work for the somalias they made it their own fault why must the world support them stop making babies.

  • Sisie - 2011-08-11 07:19

    One wonders why if they are a dry area they haven't put in desalinization plants in place long ago - this would certainly alleviate the problem. but as it is an African problem it is so much easier to put out the begging bowl. You want Africa to get help to them faster, sorry they have to first have a conference, then a summit and then they have to wait and hope that the problem just goes away. I admire the Gift of the Givers for their unfailing support for these people, but really they need to face their own problems and sort this out post haste because next year it will be worse.

  • Hennie - 2011-08-11 07:36

    Yip, Response definitely too slow, they should have dropped off condoms 10 years ago.

      daaivark - 2011-08-11 07:38

      Wish we were all as sensitive and caring as you are, Hennie.

      Gibbonater - 2011-08-11 09:02

      50 years ago. Sterilise every woman with more than two kids. Cant feed themselves but carry on breeding.

  • Alex - 2011-08-11 07:37

    in 1985 there was Band Aid to help out the starving Eithopians. 26 years later (with continuous drought and famine in Eithopia and Somalia in between) there's a plea for help. SA Govt can easily hive off R100m from its various Government departments that underspend and help out our brothers and sisters in Somalia. I'll be dead in 26 years time and I have no doubt famine and drought and wars will continue in Somalia and neighboring countries in 2037. You gotta ask - why is this?

  • Sunette - 2011-08-11 07:45

    Call me insensitive, but what happened to "Charity starts at home"? We have millions living in Squatter Camps, dying of Aids, hunger, lack of medical care... 23 Million unemployed... Old Age Homes closing down, lack of Orphanages, Housing shortages - you name it, we have it! I simply don't see how we can give money to other countries while we can't even sort out our own problems. And I also believe that African Countries will never start looking after themselves as long as the food literally "drops from the skies"! STOP having babies you can't feed and stop raping Mother earth with no forward planning!

      Joy Thorpe - 2011-08-11 08:00

      Hear Hear !

      EmptyCan - 2011-08-11 08:08

      Yet we spend hundreds of millions on a youth conference and borrow billions to a corrupt neighbor.......rather than buy food for our own, improve our healthcare or fix our roads.

  • Hunter 008 - 2011-08-11 07:46

    Al-Qaeda needs to go there and help out... instead of blowing themselves up !! It is a moslem country after all !!

  • shadstar - 2011-08-11 07:46

    south africans buy goods from somalis in south africa and now we have to give somalis food??

  • Mart - 2011-08-11 07:53

    When will people begin to realise that the leaders of most African countries only pay lip service to looking after the poor and underprivelaged in their own countries never mind the citizens of other countries. It is the organisations like Gift of the Givers that lead any support efforts and not Governments. Africa is all about short term gratification enjoyed by power mongers who will sweep all aside now with nil regard for the future. Simply put, African Leaders know there will always be poor people who are gullible and easily influenced to keep them in power hence there is very little effort on their part to better manage population growth. Perhaps a United States of Africa has merit that needs to be explored. God gave Africans (all of us) a gem of a continent, and all we are doing is chipping away a it's value with not a care for sustainability. 15 years ago there were 6,9 million people starving in Somalia, today there are 11 million, and it is at war with itself. Quite illogical....'wake up Africa, it might not be too late!'

  • morecats - 2011-08-11 07:57

    The problem Africa is the complacency the people have in dealing with problems head-on before it becomes a disaster. We are experiencing the same in SA with infrastructure being abused to the point of destruction and then the onus must rest on someone else to sort out the mess. This apparently from from the African continent having always supplied the resources for the inhabitants to live on day by day. When the one tree is empty of fruit, move on to the next and so on and so on. The Europeans had to pre-plan the winter, gather enough or die, hence the way of foreseeing problems before it becomes a disaster. In Somalia, they let everything go to the dogs and are, in character, waiting for some agency/country/organization to sort out their plight. This will never end as the ingrained nature of the beast is set in stone. There are no solutions to the African problem bar trying to relieve the symptoms of the rot .....Geldoff/Bono, where are you lot of bleeding heart liberals? Africa awaits your solutions ......

  • Henk van Tonder - 2011-08-11 08:19

    The majority of South Africans DON'T GIVE A DAMN about Somalia and are getting sick and tired of this mass media driven rubbish splashed on either our TV or PC screens. Not even the refugee (economic migrants) Somalians who have grown fat on our land send aid back home, so why should we? These people overpopulate Africa with no family planning whatsoever. Natural selection should have wiped them out but liberals keep prolonging their misery by giving hand-outs. They can shove their begging bowls where the sun dont shine! Charity begins at home!

      2WhiteStars - 2011-08-11 09:47

      You said it, my man. Besides, White countries should be spending their money on their own people, not on helping Muslim breeding mules push out another 8 little pirates and suicide bombers. NO HELP FOR SOMALIA.

  • eh - 2011-08-11 08:36

    Thabo Mbeki says that the UN cannot be trusted and that the AU should take the lead in Afria. What a joke! These so called "Imperialists" spend billions every year to help Africa's people overcome the problems created by Arica's own leaders who are more interested in lining their own pockets, their own egos and protecting fellow dictators. Africa has no honest, credible, accountable leaders and the AU will never be more than a place where freeloaders can tell each other how wonderful they are.

  • flummoxed - 2011-08-11 08:36

    Lets sort out the needs of SA's people first, before dishing out millions to the 'give me give me' countries North of our borders.

  • unrealchris - 2011-08-11 09:00

    And yesterday, there were protest at American embasy about Libia, you cant have your bread buttered on both sides sorry Somali

  • Gibbonater - 2011-08-11 09:03

    The united nation are lying. They are imperialists who want to take over Somalia for its recourses. If this famine was true African nation would be flooding Somalia with aid as africans help their brothers in need. No african country would sit back and watch their brothers and sisters starve. The un must leave Somalia and let africa find a solution to an alleged african problem. Remember "African solution for african problems" Remeber that the pirates have received millions in ransoms, why are they not caring for their brothers and sisters.

  • 2WhiteStars - 2011-08-11 09:15

    Stuff Somalia.

  • Daemos1 - 2011-08-11 11:02

    SA governemnt can't even give me an ID document, how are we supposed to help SOmalia?

      Dominic - 2011-08-11 11:43

      That's easy @Daemos1. Just visit and give them a small donation, or are you one of those people who expects the government to do everything for you?

  • Kenneth - 2011-08-11 11:05

    Why don't the Somalia gov confiscate all the millions of dollars that Somalia pirates have got from shipping companies in return for their ships.By this time it should be billions of dollars.According to one pirates statement they do it because they are poor but they wont share that money with other poor people.If they want to sustain them selves then they must stop breeding children

  • InnaD - 2011-08-11 12:12

    Stop having 8 children if you are only able to raise 1! We have the same problem here and why forever sending money to other does begin at home....or not?

      daaivark - 2011-08-11 12:28

      Even if there were ever any sense in that silly "truism", let's just play devil's advocate. So how much do you give to local charities?

  • Zebelon - 2011-08-11 21:55

    The SA leadership and the President are still occupied by the Gaddafi/NATO/AU wrangle. At the moment the African wing of that coalition cares less about Somalia, or any other of the many African problems.

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